Composting and worm farming

Discover what composting and worm farming is, and which one is best for your household.

Person emptying a bowl of colourful food scraps into a compost bin. Bin is already at the brim with existing food scraps.

Composting is when household food scraps and garden waste are broken down by millions of micro-organisms to create a dark, nutrient-rich soil.

Worm farming is when you feed fruit and vegetable scraps to compost worms. The worms eat the decomposing food waste and produce castings that make a great fertiliser for gardens and indoor plants.


Where can I order a compost bin or worm farm?

We sell compost bins and worm farms at a subsidised rate. You can order a worm farm and compost bin online.

Order a compost bin or worm farm


What are the benefits?

Supercharge your garden

  • It improves soil structure and adds nutrients.
  • Compost and mulch help retain moisture in the soil, saving you water.
  • If you don’t have a garden, worm castings are great for pot plants.

Help the environment

  • Food makes up 50% of our waste going to landfill.
  • As it breaks down, food waste creates methane which affects our air quality and contributes to climate change.
  • Composting your food scraps keeps this valuable resource out of landfill and gives you nutrient rich fertilizer for your garden.

Save money

  • Each year, we throw out $2,200 worth of food.
  • Composting reduces the cost of rubbish disposal to the community.

How do I compost?

Finding an option that suits your home and the amount of food waste you produce is important to consider before you begin composting.

A compost bin can be great solution if you have enough space. It also requires minimal upkeep to function well provided that the materials added are balanced.

Some important steps for composting include:

  • Collect your kitchen scraps in a compost caddy or container indoors before adding them to the compost bin.
  • Make sure that you're adding materials to keep the moisture balance correct including paper, cardboard, dry leaves and straw.
  • Turn your compost with a garden fork or aerator to keep the bin aerated and breaking down effectively.

How do I worm farm?

You can purchase a variety of different worm farms from nurseries and hardware stores, or you can make your own.

  • Once you have your worm farm and compost worms, all you need to do is add your fruit and vegetable scraps each week.
  • Add a small amount of food in the first week and increase this amount gradually over six months.
  • Make sure to chop up the food first and include a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Compost worms will also eat coffee grinds, paper, leaves and even damp cardboard.
  • Do not add onions, garlic, chilli, or acidic food such as oranges and lemons.
  • If uneaten food remains in the farm, you will know you have overfed the worms.
  • Place a few layers of newspaper on top of the food to keep the moisture in your worm farm.
  • Pour some water on the newspaper every few days during summer to prevent the worm farm from drying out.

Which system should I use?

Composting is best suited to households with a garden and a lot of food waste. They do require some maintenance including regular turning to get good aeration. Compost bins can process garden prunings as well as food waste.

Worm farms are ideal for people with small gardens or minimal garden waste. They work best for people living in flats or in houses with small backyards. Well maintained worm farms do not smell and can be kept on your veranda, deck, garage or even indoors. 

 

What if I don't have enough space?

  • ShareWaste can help you find someone in Yarra to accept and compost your food scraps. 
  • Yarra’s Zero Waste map can help you find food waste drop off points and community composting hubs.

 

Learn more at one of our workshops

We run free online workshops via My Smart Garden throughout the year on a variety of topics, including:

  • composting
  • worm farming
  • small space gardening
  • organic gardening
  • keeping chickens.

To receive updates on upcoming workshops, subscribe to the My Smart Garden e-newsletter or keep an eye on our What's On page.